[Heads up – The Watercraft Journal’s complete recap from this past weekend’s Mark Hahn Memorial Havasu 300 will be published shortly. Sorry for the spoiler! – Ed.]
Yamaha WaveRunners had a heck of a year in 2017 and it appears that 2018 is going to be no different. Despite truly unfavorable weather conditions, Canadian Mike Klippenstein (and race partner Marcus Jorgensen) took the coveted title aboard a Yamaha GP1800. Yeah, you read that right; the race was won not even on a FX SVHO, but the lightweight powerhouse that swept so many closed course races last year. And also note, it’s the first victory for Yamaha at the Mark Hahn since race-founder Mike Follmer’s win in 2005 aboard a GP1300R.
Here’s Yamaha’s complete press release:
February 27, 2018 — Lake Havasu City, Arizona – Battling rough and cold conditions, Yamaha racers Mike Klippenstein and Marcus Jorgensen, aboard their Yamaha GP1800, took home the number one overall spot at the 14th annual IJSBA Mark Hahn Memorial Havasu 300 Mile National Endurance Race, the world’s longest personal watercraft endurance race held annually in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
In addition to the overall win in Open class, Yamaha riders Chris Fischetti and Tony Beck won the manufacturer’s stock class aboard their Yamaha GP1800.
“Never has a new model won so many major titles in its first year of introduction as we’ve seen the GP1800 accomplish this year,” said Yamaha Race Director Scott Watkins. “From World Titles, to its Top 3 dominance on the National Tour and victory at the Long Beach open ocean race, the GP has won every major closed course and long distance race event it’s competed in. This speaks volumes about this model’s strength right out of the box and it’s only going to get more interesting as our teams have a chance to build upon the amazing stock platform.”
The Mark Hahn Memorial race, which drew a record number of teams from around the globe as well as the top PWC racers, demands that racers manage everything from fuel stops, rider changes, rough water conditions and attrition to complete the grueling 300-mile course.
The “Team” format features two riders for runabout (sit down) boat teams and up to three riders for a stand-up craft. Solo riders are also welcome to “Ironman” the race on either style of boat, a real test of endurance and stamina reserved for only the true endurance sea lots.
“We won this event in 2005 on a two stroke Yamaha GP1300R with teammate Billy Womack,” said event promoter Mike Follmer. “I am proud to now welcome Mike Klippenstein and Marcus Jorgensen to the Yamaha Winners club. They put forth an outstanding team effort in conjunction with R&D and the entire Klippenstein team on their GP1800.”
The race is held in the memory of endurance racer Mark Hahn who was instrumental in supporting and growing the sport of personal watercraft endurance racing around the country.